I wrote the previous two items before reading this David Frum piece for The Atlantic:
Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth
Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations
followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a
constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential
authority by the president’s own appointees — now that’s a
If the president’s closest advisers believe that he is morally and
intellectually unfit for his high office, they have a duty to do
their utmost to remove him from it, by the lawful means at hand.
That duty may be risky to their careers in government or
afterward. But on their first day at work, they swore an oath to
defend the Constitution — and there were no “riskiness”
exemptions in the text of that oath.
My thoughts exactly. If he’s unfit for office, say so. Resign and call for impeachment or stay and invoke the 25th Amendment.
The Washington Post, with highlights from Bob Woodward’s Fear, which comes out next week:
Cohn, a Wall Street veteran, tried to tamp down Trump’s strident
nationalism regarding trade. According to Woodward, Cohn “stole a
letter off Trump’s desk” that the president was intending to sign
to formally withdraw the United States from a trade agreement with
South Korea. Cohn later told an associate that he removed the
letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice
that it was missing.
Cohn made a similar play to prevent Trump from pulling the United
States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, something
the president has long threatened to do. […] Under orders from
the president, Porter drafted a notification letter withdrawing
from NAFTA. But he and other advisers worried that it could
trigger an economic and foreign relations crisis. So Porter
consulted Cohn, who told him, according to Woodward: “I can stop
this. I’ll just take the paper off his desk.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis ignores him too:
After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack
on civilians in April 2017, Trump called Mattis and said he wanted
to assassinate the dictator. “Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in.
Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump said, according to
Mattis told the president that he would get right on it. But after
hanging up the phone, he told a senior aide: “We’re not going to
do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.” The
national security team developed options for the more conventional
airstrike that Trump ultimately ordered.
These officials get away with disregarding Trump’s orders — with literally stealing letters off his desk — because Trump is a nitwit. He’s just dumb. His own lawyer thinks he’s an idiot:
Dowd then explained to Mueller and Quarles why he was trying to
keep the president from testifying: “I’m not going to sit there
and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript,
because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are
going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a
goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’ ”
“John, I understand,” Mueller replied, according to Woodward.
Later that month, Dowd told Trump: “Don’t testify. It’s either
that or an orange jumpsuit.”
When Trump was elected I wrote that “Trump voters are ignoramuses, bigots, and/or fools.” Everything that’s gone so horribly awry with his presidency was easily predictable. Anyone who still supports him today must be at least two out of three.
The New York Times:
The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an
anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the
author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose
identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its
disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the
only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.
The senior administration official:
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers
within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would
start a complex process for removing the president. But no one
wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what
we can to steer the administration in the right direction until —
one way or another — it’s over.
The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the
presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do
to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be
stripped of civility.
Rather than invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office, they simply try to ignore him. As extraordinary and controversial as it would be to remove him from office, I think that would set a good precedent: that the Cabinet should and will remove a president who is mentally unfit for the job. By ignoring his orders, they’re setting a terrible precedent — that the president isn’t necessarily in charge of the Executive Branch.
Update: The more I think about this piece, the more angry I get. Fuck this person. Stand up and say this under your own name.